Wildlife watching tours - bird watching holidays -
culture tours for independent travellers and groups
Torrent Ducks © V PerezBooted Rackettail E Slope © K BarnesRufous-bellied Seedsnipe © K BarnesCollared Aracari © K BarnesBlack-mandibled Toucan © K BarnesSword-billed Hummingbird © K Barnes

Ecuador Culture and Wildlife Tour (10 days) E131

Tour ref. no. E131
Duration: 9 nights (10 days taking into account flights which are payable directly)
Quito – Otavalo, Cuicooch Lake, Peguche - Cuenca, Ingapirca - Antisana & Papallacta – Quito
  • Colourful Otavalo Market
  • Quito and Cuenca – both cities with World Heritage Site status
  • Andean Condors soaring over extinct volcanoes – a childhood desire to see?
  • Wacky Sword-billed Hummingbirds, striking Blue-mantled Thornbills & Gould’s Jewelfronts
  • High altitude gems – Ecuadorian Hillstar, Andean (Black-faced Ibis) & Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe

Introduction

This tour provides an excellent chance of seeing the scarce Andean (Black-faced) Ibis at Antisana, which is also a good place to watch the skies for Andean Condors soaring on thermals and Carunculated Caracaras are common here.  Around Papallacta Pass, we’ll continue our quest for other high altitude target species including Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe, Ecuadorian Hillstar, Blue-mantled Thornbill, White-chinned Thistletail and others, so fingers crossed! You should see the spectacular looking Sword-billed Hummingbird too!

Ecuador culture features high in the itinerary too with guided tours around Quito, Cuenca and Ingapirca ruins – all World Heritage Sites.  Also you can enjoy the  popular market at Otavalo.

Enjoy stunning scenery and much, much more on this not to be missed tour.

Then, why not extend this tour to include the Amazonian rainforest – a natural choice and easily accessible from Coca.  There are many ways to extend this tour, so please contact us for details

 

Itinerary and price

Please note that due to weather conditions and other local considerations the following itinerary might need to be revised or re-ordered at short notice to maximise on the best birding opportunities. 

Day 1: Flight to Quito to be organised by you.

For help with your flight arrangements and to receive a no obligation quote, you can complete the enquiry form on our website or call 0800 280 8947 to speak to a flight advisor at StudentUniverse (in partnership with Gapyear.com), part of the Flight Centre Travel Group, a leading retailer of airfares and worldwide flights.

Meals: Payable directly today
There is a flight departing London Heathrow early morning which arrives in Quito in the evening. Some flights departing the UK earlier in the morning arrive in Quito late afternoon/evening.

Your driver will be outside Quito airport (look for your name on a placard) to welcome you and transfer you to Hotel Sebastian or similar. Relax for the remainder of the day.

Note: Quito is located at high altitude in the Andes, almost 3,000 metres. To avoid any symptoms of altitude sickness and prepare for the following day we advise as early a night as possible with plenty of sleep AND avoid alcohol until you reach lower altitudes.

Night at Hotel Sebastian or similar

Day 2: Quito – Otavalo Market (Iluman)

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Your guide will meet you at your hotel at a time to be decided (we recommend by 0730 hours to avoid some of the traffic). The journey takes about 2 ½ hours. Guided activities with bilingual guide will include some stops on the way. You’ll visit Parque Condor. Enjoy lunch at Hacienda Cusin. In the afternoon take a short visit to Otavalo Market, Iluman town.

Night at Las Palmeras Inn

Day 3: Otavalo Market (Iluman) - Cuicocha Lake, Cotacachi and Peguche

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Full day guided walking/hiking around Cuicocha Lake including lunch in Cotacachi. You can have a short visit to Cotacachi town to explore the leather working which goes on here.  In the afternoon visit the town of Peguche and observe the weaving processes at a textile workshop.

Return to your hotel for a second night at Las Palmeras Inn

Day 4: Iluman - Quito - Cuenca

Meals: Breakfast and lunch (dinner is payable directly this evening)

After breakfast return to Quito. The journey takes about 2 ½ hours and you will be dropped at the Airport.  Then take the flight to Cuenca.  You have booked Tame Linea flight no. EQ155 departing from Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport at 1230 hours arriving at Cuenca Mariscal Lamar International Airport at 1325 hours.  You will find your driver waiting for you with your name on a placard and you will be transferred (a journey of around 15 mins) to Hotel Posada del Angel where lunch will be served (any time till 1500 hours).  Relax for the rest of today.  Alternatively if you wish to explore the city you may do this on your own.  We haven’t included a guide for this afternoon as having some free time to yourselves is often welcomed.  Cuenca’s streets are narrow and the traffic can be slow so we would suggest you explore places nearby on foot.  If you wish the hotel would be able to arrange for a taxi on direct payment should you require one.

Night at Posada del Angel

Day 5: Cuenca - Ingapirca Ruins - Cuenca

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Full day guided visit to Ingapirca Ruins with your guide.  He will also drive you.

These ruins are a little far from Cuenca city, located in Canar province, so you will have an early start. Ingapirca is part of Inca’s legacy.  It is not as big and magnificent as Machu Picchu, but the site is still of great significance. Today be ready to leave your hotel at 0800 hours and from here you will visit Cojitambo (about 25 km from Cuenca).  From here it is on to Biblian town (a 30 minute drive) to visit Virgen del Rocio Church (beautiful Gothic church where many devotees gather from various parts of the south). Then drive to Ingapirca Ruins, see the Inca Face and you can expect the visit to take approximately two hours or so. If there is time, you could also visit the Indian market of Cañar.  Returning to Cuenca you can expect to arrive into the city around 1630 – 1700 hours.

Night at Posada del Angel

Day 6: Cuenca - Quito

Meals: Breakfast and lunch (dinner payable directly this evening)

This morning you’ll be able to enjoy sightseeing in Cuenca city with your guide (and some shopping if you have any spare time).  We recommend starting out with your guide at 0800 hours if this is ok with you.  Places to visit include Cuenca downtown and the Church and Park of San Sebastián, Plazoleta del Vado, 10 de Agosto Market, the famous Panamá hat Factory, San Francisco Plaza, a handicraft market, Park of Flowers and Church of Carmen de la Asunción, Cathedral and Calderón Park.  So we suggest you enjoy the morning with your guide, returning to your hotel by 1200 hours for a light lunch and we recommend you arrive at the airport by 1300 hours at the latest for your Tame Linea flight no. EQ154 (booked by you) departing Cuenca Marisscal Lamar International Airport at 1405 hours.  We have included your transfer to Cuenca airport within the price (arranged by Posada del Angel).  Your flight arrives at Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport at 1500 hours and you will find your driver waiting for you with your name on a placard and he will take you to your hotel.

Night at Hotel Sierra Madre

Day 7: Quito

Meals: Breakfast (lunch and dinner are payable directly today)

Breakfast should be available from 0730 hours. Your guide will arrive at your hotel reception by 0830 hours.  Note: Most places open at 0900 hours and close around 1630 – 1700 hours). Full day in and around Quito to explore Mitad del Mundo, Pululahua, Museo Casa de la Cultura, Rumipamba Arqueologic Park – a small Park located on the west side of Quito as well as Panecillo, Plaza Independencia, Plaza Santo Domingo and Calle la Ronda.

Night at Hotel Sierra Madre

Day 8: Quito - Antisana - Termas Papallacta

Meals: Breakfast in Quito, lunch at Condor restaurant and dinner at Termas Papallacta

You’ll change guides for today and tomorrow. Your guide will be at your hotel reception for 0800 hours. He knows the birdlife locally very well and other wildlife too. The drive to Volcan Antisana and Antisana Reserve will take around 1 – 1 ½ hours depending on stops on the way.  You’ll pass old lava flows and reach some really dramatic scenery over which the Andean Condor flies. It’s a spectacular area with some very special wildlife.  Rare birds include of course Andean Condor, but also Andean (Black-faced) Ibis, Carunculated Caracara and Ecuadorian Hillstar, the highest altitude hummingbird, to name just a few. At some point around lunch time you will visit the Condor viewing area opposite breeding cliffs and then you will continue your drive over Papallacta Pass to Termas Papallacta.
Overnight at Termas Papallacta with use of facilities, including the spa. Treatments, for example massages, are extra and payable directly.

Night at Termas Papallacta

Day 9: Papallacta area - Quito

Meals: Breakfast at Termas Papallacta and lunch at Guango Lodge (dinner is payable directly)

Your will be with you again today and you’ll enjoy the full day in the Papallacta area, visiting Guango Lodge and the surrounding locations before returning to Quito.  Weather permitting the views around here can be stunning, with plenty of birdlife to see.  Sword-billed Hummingbirds and Chestnut-breasted Coronets are just a couple of the lovely hummingbirds which visit the Guango Lodge feeders.  Your experienced bird guide will take you down to the river here to look for the charismatic Torrent Duck, so fingers crossed! Later in the day you’ll return to Quito and your guide will say his goodbyes.  Dinner is payable directly in Quito as again there are many good restaurants and nearer the time we can recommend some.

Night at Portal del Cantuna

Day 10: Quito

Meals: Breakfast

Today you will have at your leisure to explore Quito further.  Room check-out is by 1230 hours at the latest but if you wish you can always leave luggage with staff at the front desk until your departure to the airport.

Other places you could visit may include La Basilica Church, Itchimbia, Guapulo, La Catedral, La Compania, San Francisco Church and the Wax museum.

Note: You should allow around 1  1/2 hours for the drive from your hotel to the airport and you arrive at the airport three hours prior to your International flight departure time.

The cost of the transfer to Quito airport (with Spanish speaking driver) to connect with your flight home is included.

Tour ends

However, from here you can also visit the Amazon Rainforest, staying in one or both of two comfortable lodges – Sacha Lodge and/or Napo Wildlife Centre. Please ask for the cost of extending this tour to include the Amazon experience and we’ll price it for you. if you haven’t been to the Amazon before, then this really is a must!

Per person price from 1 Jan 2017 to 31 Dec 2017: Approx. US $2595 based on two travelling and sharing a room

Single room supplement: $270

Price includes:
Accommodation as specified
All land transfers
Meals as mentioned above
All entrance fees
Experienced guide for days listed in the itinerary on an exclusive basis
Bird checklist, pre-travel and top tips for travel advice

Price excludes:
International flight
Internal flight
Travel insurance
All drinks
Tips
Phone calls, laundry and anything else of personal nature

How to book

The booking of this itinerary is with Wild About Travel Limited and our booking terms and conditions apply. In order to protect your payments we operate a trust account in accordance with the requirements of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.

Please contact Jo Thomas at Wild About Travel (jo@wildabouttravel.co.uk) / 01480-370593 to register your interest and request a booking form.

To confirm your booking please complete the booking form and send a 25% deposit by £ sterling cheque * payable to Wild About Travel Trust to the Wild About Travel Office, 25 Sapley Road, Hartford, Huntingdon, Cambs PE29 1YG. The balance payment would be due 40 - 60 days (to be confirmed at the time of booking) prior to your travel dates.

* Note: Where a price is given in another currency you can pay in £ sterling. We will use the Lloyds Bank exchange rate at the time of making the deposit payment and the balance payment to convert the figure to £. If you would prefer to make a payment by internet banking please let us know and we can supply you with the bank details.

Flights

We can advise on appropriate flights and timings that you may wish to book, but we do not organise or arrange flights on our customers’ behalf. You will need to make your own flight arrangements directly with a flight retailer or the airline concerned; we recommend StudentUniverse (in partnership with Gapyear.com), part of Flight Centre Travel Group. They can be contacted by completing the online enquiry form or you can call 0800 280 8947 to speak to one of their flight advisors.

For any help or advice please call or email Wild About Travel and we would be happy to assist.
Tel: +44 (0)1480 370593 Mobile: +44 (0)7817 574235
Email: jo@wildabouttravel.co.uk
Wild About Travel Limited is a company registered in England and Wales.
Reg. no. 5522066. Registered Office: 25 Sapley Road, Hartford, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE29 1YG, UK

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